C-SUITE

Office Depot board claims progress in OfficeMax merger

BY Dan Berthiaume

BOCA RATON, Fla. —In a letter to shareholders, the board of directors of Office Depot Inc. said it has made significant progress toward a successful closing of the planned merger with OfficeMax by the end of this year. The letter also urges shareholders to support the board’s 10 nominees for the company’s board of directors.

“Our merger agreement with OfficeMax, a deal that has been years in the making, is well underway and on track for a successful closing by the end of the year,” says the letter, signed by lead director W. Scott Hedrick and chairman/CEO Neil R. Austrian. “The merger was thoughtfully structured as a merger of equals that will result in an eleven member board made up of five directors from each company plus a CEO. At the recent special meeting, we received overwhelming support from our shareholders, including Starboard, with 98% voting for the transaction and the governance structure it envisions at the recent special meeting.”

Austrian went on to say the final step in the merger process will be FTC approval, which it expects to close the transaction by the end of this year.

The letter also states that significant progress has been made in integration planning and analysis of combined company cost structure.

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OPERATIONS

Consumer confidence hits six-year high

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK —Consumer confidence in July rose to the highest level in six years as Americans’ views of their finances and the economy improved, according to the the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment.

The index increased to 85.1 in July from 84.1 at the end of June. It was the highest level since July 2007.

Consumers said they were move favorable toward making purchases, including automobiles and homes.

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News

Former Dunnhumby exec heads to 89 Degrees

BY CSA STAFF

BURLINGTON, Mass. — 89 Degrees, a customer engagement agency that leverages data and analytically driven strategy for maximum ROI, has named Rosie Poultney VP, analytics.

“Rosie is a key hire in our evolution as a customer engagement agency, linking digital technology and analytics to drive omnichannel marketing in powerful new ways,” said Phil Hussey, president of 89 Degrees. “Adding Bill Pena recently as VP of technology services was another major step in this direction, as we bring world class talent to our technology solutions.”

Poultney has deep experience in analytics, segmentation, loyalty programs, media evaluation and the creation of actionable insights to improve customers’ experience and engagement. During her 17-year career with Dunnhumby, she led the delivery of insights to C-level clients in the grocery and wider retail sectors, spanning fashion, leisure, automotive, nonprofits, finance, telecoms and optical. She has considerable experience working with both retailers and consumer packaged goods companies to utilize customer data to inform assortment, pricing and new product launches.

Her client engagements have included Macy’s, Panera and Kroger in the U.S.; Tesco, Deutsche Telecom and Shop Direct Group in Europe.

Poultney has an MSc statistics and operational research from the University of London, and a BSc mathematics from the University of Hertfordshire.

89 Degrees enables multichannel solutions across a number of key verticals for clients such as Ikea, Hyundai, World Vision, Genzyme/Sanofi and Uno Chicago Grill.

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